Finding childcare is an incredibly stressful process, and matters are made worse when general or personal reports of abuse (e.g., the December incident at Bright Horizons, Lexington) or neglect (e.g., an “honorary niece” of ours suffered from neglectful nanny treatment) surface.
On the latter, luckily our niece’s nanny frequented a neighborhood park replete with the nannies and children of local families. Even more fortunate, the other neighborhood nannies were proactive enough to contact our niece’s parents when they witnessed the ill treatment.
Unfortunately, particularly in urban settings, there isn’t always a familiar collective. To address this problem, Jill Starishevsky, a New York City child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor and mother of two, recently started HowsMyNanny.com, an online nanny feedback service. The service provides license plates for strollers with a unique identifying number and website information so passersby can provide anonymous or identifiable nanny feedback to parents.
Truth be told, I initially was concerned about the negative connotations a license plate could bring to nannies generally, but the service encourages positive as well as negative reporting so fabulous nannies can use positive feedback as part of their work portfolio. To that effect, Starishevsky also is working to implement a nanny of the year award based on praise reports.
The service costs $50/year with discount rates available for multiple year sign up.